Are you eating enough fat? Many of us have the idea that fat is always unhealthy so we should try to minimize how much we consume. For example, consider all the low/no-fat products that hit the market every year. The irony is many of these foods are quite unhealthy because they include white sugar, artificial colors/flavors/ingredients, and other stuff. The good news is you can actually add good fats to your diet but it’s a matter of learning how to eat more fat. This includes knowing how much fat you should eat, what kinds, and even when you should eat it.
The key is to eat fat in the “right” way. For example, if you just load up on junk food, you’ll be achieving your goal but in a super-unhealthy way. That’s because such options along with fast food are often loaded with lots of unhealthy fats. That includes trans fats in products like potato chips and trans fats in deep-fried foods. By knowing which fats to eat and avoid you’ll get on the right track. This is especially true with the keto diet since it’s up to 80% fat. That’s right! In such high-fat and low-carb diets, it’s critical to choose wisely.
Is Fat Good or Bad?
The famous playwright William Shakespeare once wrote that nothing is truly good/bad. In other words, it’s about how we perceive it. Well, in a sense it applies to dietary fat.
There are basically two kinds of fats. One is healthy fats that are found in foods like fatty fish, coconuts, olives, and avocados. These are foods we should be eating more of.
In recent years researchers have been focusing on good fats like omega-3 fatty acids. The reason is the so-called Standard American Diet (SAD) includes too much omega-6 in foods like highly-refined vegetable oils. Better options include olive oil and coconut oil.
Low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet make healthy fats a top priority. In fact, it should make up about three-quarters of your diet. In some versions, that figure is as high as 80%.
Studies show that high-fat diets with good stuff are actually better versus low-fat diets for weight-loss. In other words: Eating more fat might help you burn more fat.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are trans-fats. Most people would agree that tub margarine isn’t very healthy. Fun Fact: trans-fat was developed for tub margarine. You can find many snack foods and fast foods loaded with trans fats. This is easily the kind to avoid if you want to eat more fat.
Saturated fat is a mixed bag. In the past, it was blamed for increasing the risk of heart disease and other health conditions. Studies done since then seem to prove otherwise. That said, it doesn’t mean you should add tons of saturated fat to every meal.
Here’s one reason. Some studies show that saturated fat does indeed boost good fat. On the other hand, it also boosts bad fat. Researchers are still sorting out this issue. Until then it’s probably OK to eat saturated fat—just not too much.
How to Eat More Fat
Here are some sources of healthy fat to consider:
Like other soybean products, tofu is a good source of good fats. Besides that, you can get plant-based protein, about 25% of daily calcium, and other nutrients. You can also try other soybean products to add more good fat.
This tree nut is high in omega-3, which is found in other fish like fatty fish. It also helps to lower total AND bad cholesterol. Walnuts also seem to help improve the health of arteries and the heart.
Take your pick: green or black. They’re both good options since they’re high in nutrients including healthy fat. They include some interesting ones that seem to help prevent cancer.
It’s a good idea not to eat too many olives. That’s because they’re sometimes high-sodium. Go with 10 small or 5 big olives.
4. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate CAN be healthy. The key is to opt for the dark variety since it’s less processed. You should also skip out on choco with added sugar.
What’s the deal with chocolate? It’s high in good fats and contains lots of vitamins like A/B/E and minerals like magnesium and potassium.
5. Fatty fish
Some options include:
These fish are sky-high in omega-3s and heart-friendly.
Yes, a medium-size avocado has around 23g of fat. That’s nearly half that’s allowed for keto dieters. However, this is mostly a kind of unsaturated fat. It’s also high in nutrients like vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
You can eat avocados in many ways. You can butter toast, turn it into sour cream for baked potatoes, and there’s always the go-to option: guacamole.
7. Olive Oil
Go with extra-virgin olive oil for the least refined option. It’s full of unsaturated fats and is 100% better than basic vegetable oil.
Tips for Eating Healthy Fats
1. Pick omega-3 over omega-6
Studies show that the modern diet is too high omega-6 and too low in omega-3. One of the easiest fixes is to use healthy oils like olive and coconut. While “vegetable” oil sounds healthy it’s highly processed and quite unhealthy.
2. Limit saturated fats
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that red meat might be cancerous. More research is needed on saturated fats. That said, it boosts both healthy and unhealthy cholesterol. So, if you’re going to eat saturated fat just don’t overdo it.
3. Snack healthy
If you have a snack attack go with flaxseeds, walnuts, avocados, and other options with lots of good fats. Avoid binge eating on comfort foods!
4. Ditch trans fats
This is one of the easiest and best ways to start eating more healthy fats. Go with other options like fish, poultry, nuts, beans, and so on.
Trans fats are often found in fast food and junk food. So always read ingredients labels and ask what kind of oil restaurants use to make fried foods.
5. Make DIY salad dressing
The reason is commercial salad dressing often have lots of unhealthy fats and added sugar. These are both stuff you’ll want to avoid. You can make a healthy dressing with ingredients like olive, sesame, and flaxseed oils.
6. Avoid fat-counting
Ironically one of the best ways to add good fat is by not doing fat-counting. Yes, you should keep tabs on how much fat you’re generally eating. This is especially the case when on the keto diet.
That said, it’s better to focus on swapping in foods high in good fats like fruits, veggies, nuts, and so on. Make sure to eat fatty fish 2+ times weekly. You should also reduce how much red meats and fried foods you eat to learn how to eat more fat.